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The Fool from the Gilded Tarot

The Fool from the Gilded Tarot deck

A weary queen sent for her fool quite late.
I dreamed last night of visitations eight;
today I cannot eat or tolerate
the sight of starving souls and empty plates.

You’ve proved yourself adept at augury,
I pray you now to loan your skills to me.
The king is off preparing for a war;
my knight has mangled these affairs before.


Your Majesty, I’m but a lowly fool,
my joking and lame mimicry poor tools,
the looking glass I use to predicate
fell off its shelf amidst a rainy spate.


Then gather up the shatters, dearest clown,
together, we shall pare this addled crown;
and if the shards unmerciful should prove,
then yield we shall to learning from above.


The first of prime is second in the line
of numbers indivisible through time;
by self and one no more divides and yet,
more couples fall apart than gladly set.

I dreamed a long succession of the two
evolving with each consequence anew;
expansion in the night a regal pair
disinterest in the tyrant’s meager fare.


Your Majesty, you’ve wed your share of kings;
you’ve known the pain that disenchantment brings;
Behold these shards that fit together here,
you’ll see the image that approaches clear.

That indivisibility of two
upholds your every act and statement true.
Allow no wav’ring coward to impede
your certainty these efforts now succeed.



A woman of great influence appeared
her emerald cape a symbol I revered;
twelve houses in a circle carried she,
it’s time you learned the primacy of three.

Our Hermes Trismegistus bids you well;
he’s basking on a Grecian caravel.
your current explorations are on course,
we see no call for cautionary force.


That you’ve been closely watched is no surprise,
though from this fragment, Madame, I surmise
that influences mutable may cause
your heart to give unnecessary pause.

The hecklers and inhibitors are gone;
those fearful of their shadows useless pawn.
Though fixed it would appear your solar sign,
you glide with ease through cardinal design.



The pentacle arrived in mitered hat;
of mothballs did he smell, he had a rat
from whom he took in messages, it seemed.

I thought I knew the elements of five:
earth, fire, water, air and spirit thrive,
but something felt amiss. I may have screamed.


The dispossessed of independent mind
will gather for protection every time.
There’s nothing more the bishopric can do;
Druidic three-line stanzas see you through

this mirrored hall whose smoky trails will lead
you past the regimented and decreed.
Your off-rhyme and diagonal are means
to distinguish who are real from figurines.


[Queen, then Fool, you know the gig, dear Reader.]

The passion of the seven came in waves
led by chariots of sphinxes from their graves;
A queen in royal purple did preside;
she seemed relaxed, indifferent to her pride.

You know me from that morn, the coffee shop,
when all who saw you felt obliged to stop;
and in that glosa’d gift shop in Amman,
you learned what still remained to be undone.


The fool, he scratched his jingle-belléd crown.
Some weird new archetype is going down;
it’s fragmenting our time and space, perchance,
iambic rearranging in my pants.

Oh, Queen, I did not mean to speak so crude,
Though you’ve a lively pleasure for the lewd.
Fear not, dear fool, itinerary means
are flying in through fascinating streams!


Eleven, one by one, it marched in next;
blindfolded, seeking justice was my guess.
Correct you are, I am the courtly prime,
intensity of action over time.

Discernment is the proper way to live;
let go the false enticement to forgive.
Let emptiness revive your rigid heart;
give only to the ones who do their part.

The sharpest piece of mirror do I see,
Reserved for judgment’s sensibility.
There is no danger in our being judged;
Your Majesty has learned, it’s all a fudge.

What skulks away in shame returns in pride;
Low valences can rise to telluride.
You’ve learned that right and wrong are dubious;
they’re measurements of true that come from us.


A ghostly pallor came upon the Queen;
I don’t know how to say what came between
the dreamer and the dreaméd at thirteen:
A coldness in a swirling aubergine.

I am the one who steers your silver boat
and calculates, he said, your depth and float.
Some know me as the reaper, fair enough;
my scythe is sharp, for some, the transit’s rough.

Your ally, death, stands guard at every turn;
he burns the chaff of all that you have learned.
This solid piece of mirror shows him well;
he’s quite a dapper fellow, can you tell?

The trick with death is, let him do his job;
he streams away the past, unsightly gob
that doesn’t help the present anyway
yet glorifies the future’s golden ray.


Well, here we are, the eve of seventeen;
the morning star gives off a silver sheen.
The seventh of eight guests poured me a drink
and said there’d be new ways for me to think.

The drink it proved to be a little strong;
I crashed into a wall in mighty song.
He said I could expect delirium
without the side effects of Cuban rum.

The fool he flipped and did a somersault;
I get it now, the cause of this assault.
You know you are no ordinary queen
to speak with those well-versed in golden mean.

DaVinci and your brother, king of France,
mayhap conspired, who knows? This lucky chance
depends on how you managed your last guest.
A fool like me could never pass the test.


The scorching fireball gave off no heat
yet melted castle walls to waxen peat.
I am the last arcana of the prime;
through twenty-two, we weave the course of time.

I am the sun of Lucifer’s domain,
Apollo and the Sol of Roman fame.
Your time to leave us draws well nigh,
my chariot awaits in eastern sky.

The fool upon the queen did softly smile.
What you’ve survived, I’ll think on for awhile.
The sun, he’s known to burn to blackened crisp
pretenders to the world of primal bliss.

But you, Madame, have mastered solitude,
the state of sunness forged from gratitude.
Our court will travel now in latitudes
of genial and comic attitudes.


And so the Queen embraced her loving fool
who through his broken mirror shone the rules
for living and becoming twenty-three,
an independent prime, her destiny.

The greater truth that all of us will see;
there is no king, no court, no gallantry
except through loving movement of the heart
while you and I play our eternal part.


© Elaine Stirling, 2012